Fall 2016 Update on Columbia University's Environmental Sustainability
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Fall 2016 Edition
Dear Members of the University Community,

This summer continued the important work of developing the University’s first comprehensive Sustainability Plan. Shaped by working groups of students, faculty and staff, the plan is scheduled to be released in the spring and will provide a roadmap for building and operating a more sustainable Columbia.    
The cornerstone of these and other University-wide sustainability initiatives is a new set of Sustainability Principles announced by President Bollinger earlier this month. Developed through a collaboration involving University Facilities and Operations and a group of Earth Institute faculty, and enriched with input from students faculty and staff, the principles focus on advancing our educational mission, reducing the environmental impact of our campus operations and fostering a culture of sustainability. I encourage you to familiarize yourself with the Principles and the important ways you can contribute to them.

In this edition of Sustainable Columbia you can read about some of the real and meaningful ways members of our University community are  embracing these principles and building on our already strong efforts in these areas.

Sustainability plays a critical role in our future. As we move into a new, even more active phase in our sustainability efforts, I hope you will join us in this very important work. Together, we can and will have an impact.


David M. Greenberg
Executive Vice President
University Facilities and Operations

News & Updates 

Photo: Eileen Baroso
President Lee C. Bollinger Announces University Sustainability Principles 
Earlier in September, President Bollinger announced his support of the Columbia University Sustainability Principles, which will serve as the cornerstone of an ongoing University-wide initiative for the entire Columbia community. Bollinger also announced the formation of the new Sustainable Columbia Leaders Network, a resource being created to facilitate communication among students, staff and faculty across all of Columbia's schools. Click here to learn how you can get involved on campus. 
Photo: Eileen Baroso
New Jersey Shuttle Launch 
Beginning this October, the University will introduce a commuter pilot program offering Columbia staff, faculty, and students direct shuttle bus service between Teaneck, NJ and the Manhattanville and Morningside Heights campuses. This new service has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 21 metric tons per month and save commuters over $1,000 per year.  Click here to learn more and sign-up for your FREE month! 

Photo: Eileen Baroso
Ongoing Sustainability Strategic Planning Work: Creating a Roadmap for the University 
University-organized sustainability focus teams have been hard at work over the summer developing a high level strategic plan for the University, to be launched in Spring 2017. The teams attended a planning summit in April 2016, during which they came up with high-level goals and strategies for three key areas: transportation, waste, and greenhouse gas / energy.  Click here to learn more about the strategic planning process. 
Photo: Eileen Baroso
LED Lighting Brightens Up Lamont-Doherty Child Development Center 
The Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) recently upgraded their Child Development Center, with a particular focus on sustainability. The facility is operated by Bright Horizons, with support from LDEO and the University Provost’s Office.  The three parties partnered to provide improvements to the facility with a useful life of 10 to 15 years. Fenestration and finishes were improved to harvest daylight more efficiently, a tank less on-demand water heater was installed, and attic insulation and ventilation was addressed to improve the thermal performance of the building.  Read more
Composting Pilot Expands to Lerner Hall 
This Fall, Lerner Hall will be joining John Jay Dining Hall and over 14 University residential apartment buildings as part of a pilot with the New York City Department of Sanitation's Organics Program, diverting food scraps from the landfill and turning them into compost or renewable energy. 
Columbia Undergraduate Housing Expands Recycling Program 
Columbia Housing continues to expand their recycling program, initially launched during the 2014/15 academic year. With a goal of providing individual recycling containers in all student rooms, they are well on their way to success. Over 1,500 rooms (3,000 green and blue containers) have been updated since the initiative began. This year Housing will expand the program to Hartley, Wallach, Furnald, Carman, John Jay, and McBain, for a total of six residence halls. Communications efforts supporting this initiative include 11 recycling education videos, which received a collective 1,191 views on YouTube and more than 1,900 on Facebook to date.
ACSRI Releases Divestment Proposal and Survey 
The ACSRI (Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing) advises the University Trustees on ethical and social issues that may affect investments of the University's endowment.  The Committee recently released its own divestment proposal on tar sands.  Read the proposal and take a survey here to voice your opinions by October 7th.

Photo: Eileen Baroso
Green Monday Founder Visits Columbia for Campus Sustainability Month
Green Monday founder and Columbia alumni David Yeung will visit his alma mater to help Columbia celebrate Campus Sustainability Month on October 10th. David will be at Chef Mike's station in John Jay Dining Hall from 11am to 12pm discussing with students the benefits of pledging Green Monday. Click here to learn more about Green Monday and take the pledge to adopt a more sustainable lifestyle through what you eat!

Awards & Recognition

Columbia Wins Corporate Social Responsibility Awards
Columbia University Facilities and Operations received a City & State 2016 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Award in Sustainability for its efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and advance sustainable initiatives on campus. Assistant Vice President of Environmental Stewardship Jessica Prata accepted the award on behalf of Columbia at City & State's Corporate Social Responsibility breakfast reception on July 28, 2016 at New York University. Earlier in the Year, Columbia also received a CSR Award for Outstanding Achievement in Promoting Small Business & Community-Based Enterprise in New York's real estate, construction & housing sector. 
University Dining Certified as Bronze Level Green Restaurant 
Over the summer, Columbia Dining was designated as Level 1 Certified Green Restaurants® by the Green Restaurant Association. The Green Restaurant Association has pioneered the Green Restaurant® movement as the leading voice within the industry, encouraging restaurants to green their operations using transparent, science-based certification standards. Columbia Dining was awarded this recognition based on standards met in seven categories: water efficiency, waste reduction and recycling, sustainable durable goods and building materials, sustainable food, energy, reusables and environmentally friendly disposables, and chemical / pollution reduction. 
Columbia University Facilities and Operations Wins Energy Industry Award for Corporate Energy Management 
Columbia University’s district energy system and related energy initiatives received the Corporate Energy Management award from the New York Association of Energy Engineers (NY-AEE) during the organization’s annual awards gala at Club 101 on June 21.  The award was presented to Columbia in connection with several ongoing energy initiatives at the university, including Columbia’s role as the single largest entity participating in the City of New York’s Clean Heat program; a central chilled water plant renewal and optimization;  the environmental sustainability of the building materials employed and the creative use of natural light at the new buildings in Manhattanville; as well as a number of other energy-saving measures throughout campus.  

Ruth DeFries and Jeffrey Sachs: University Professors
President Lee C. Bollinger announced in April 2016 that Ruth DeFries and Jeffrey Sachs have been named University Professors, the highest rank Columbia University bestows on its faculty. Sachs is director of the Earth Institute and Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development and professor of health policy and management. DeFries is Columbia’s Denning Family Professor of Sustainable Development and co-director of the undergraduate program in sustainable development at the Earth Institute.

 Measuring Success

Mailman School of Public Health Reduces Paper Consumption by 23% 
In May, Dean Linda Fried of the Mailman School of Public Health recognized the four teams that have achieved the Bronze level in the paper reduction certification program. Overall, the school has reduced paper consumption by 23% since the beginning of the program. 
University Diverts 80% of Materials from 2016 Commencement Ceremony
After the 2016 Commencement ceremony, Columbia University Facilities and Columbia EcoReps collected over 300 pounds of garbage, 530 pounds of glass metal plastic & cartons, and 600 pounds of paper & cardboard, resulting in a diversion rate from landfill of almost 80% for all materials used on Commencement Day! 
Columbia Has Donated Over 1 Million Pounds of Furniture
In August 2016, the Institutional Recycling Network (IRN) passed the 1 million pound mark for items reused locally & abroad. The program has been in place for eight
 years and supports local charitable organizations as well as relief efforts in countries around the world.
Columbia EcoReps Sell Over 700 Items of Furniture
The EcoReps held their annual Green Sale at the beginning of the semester, where items left behind in residence halls are sold to new and returning students at affordable prices. Over two days, the EcoReps sold 615 mini-fridges, and 98 boxes of electronics, fans, lamps, hangers, kitchenware, and other items, ultimately diverting these items from landfill. 
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